President Donald Trump has promised to do everything in his power to defend and protect “historic Christian communities of the Middle East.” The United States’ Congress has allocated more than $1.4 billion in funds for refugee assistance and included specific language to ensure that part of the money would be used to assist Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims—all groups the State Department deemed victims of genocide in 2016.
And yet… the State Department has not allocated any funds specifically to help Christians return to their homes and villages in the Nineveh Plain and to begin to recover from the terror of ISIS’ ethnic cleansing.
And yet… the State Department has announced it would provide a humanitarian aid package worth nearly $32 million to the Rohingya, a persecuted minority group in Burma, most of whom are Muslim. More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled Burma, a majority Buddhist nation, for Bangladesh over the past month to escape wide-scale violence that the United Nations’ top human rights official has labeled ethnic cleansing.
But Christians in the Nineveh Plain, an ancestral home of our Faith, have seen their population reduced from somewhere over 1,000,000 to a mere 250,000. And they face a constant threat of persecution and even extinction. So why hasn’t the State Department acted?
The need is growing ever more desperate. Iran is using the ravaged Christians villages of the Nineveh Plain to gain a foothold, as pro-Iranian militia are illegally occupying Christian property to colonize Northern Iraq and build a land bridge to Syria and the Mediterranean.
“This is a moral and national security crisis”, said Frank Petsche, Operations Officer of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church. “SPC wants to know why money is going to the United Nations and being distributed to other groups while funds Congress specifically allocated for Iraqi Christians are being withheld.”
“I have been there. I have seen the destruction of homes and villages, the desecration of churches. The Christians of the Nineveh Plain need, and deserve our help. The President and Congress promised that help. It is time for the State Department to deliver, not set their own agenda.”